Play outside and let your child know you want to spend time with them

Dad playing with son outside

As the weather starts to warm up and the snow melts, it is easy to tell our children to go play outside, while we, as the caregivers, take a minute to ourself or stay inside doing those neglected chores. If we want to do something called “investment caregiving”, then we need to connect with our children outside, as well. Expressing that we want to spend time with our kids — engaging in activities that they enjoy — helps to show them that they are seen, heard, and valued.

Here are some ways that you can engage with you children outside that cost little to nothing:

1. Nature scavenger hunt

Create a list of items in nature and see how many of the items you can find during a family walk along a trail.

2. Trampoline time

If you have a trampoline, clap and celebrate every time your child bounces.

3. Chalk obstacle course

Draw an obstacle course out with chalk on the sidewalk or your drive way and run through it together.

4. Playing Catch

5. Play hide and seek

Notice the creativity your child uses to find spaces to hide. 

6. Be their sports announcer

If your child is playing on the playground, sports announce how they are using the equipment.

7. Play lawn games

Play a game of lawn golf, corn hole, lawn darts, etc.

8. Have a Silly String War

9. Play in a water fight

Enjoy spending time with your children, and let them know that you want to spend time with them.

Children from challenging backgrounds or “hard places” have remarkable survival techniques. They tend to know when adults don’t want to spend time with them. Help yourself to the joy of spending time with your kids, and help them feel seen, heard, and valued.

Written by Stacey Merrill, LCPCc, Turner Family Counseling Center 

Clinician at The Maine Children’s Home for The Connected Community @MCH